Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Charlene Y. Senn

Keywords

Social sciences, Psychology

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Recent changes in police enforcement of the policy of mandatory arrest in heterosexual domestic violence situations have resulted in increased rates of women being arrested for assault even though their violence was in self-defence. Fifty-five university students participated in the online pilot study (phase 1) examining the perceptions of stereotypic and non-stereotypic female self-defence. The most (scratching) and least stereotypic (use of a kitchen knife) behaviours were then inserted into scenarios in the main study. Forty-five potential police officers from university and college settings participated online in the main study (phase 2) which examined attitudes and reactions to the victim, perpetrator, perceived appropriate interventions and acceptability of violence of both individuals, when a woman has used violence in self-defence. Though the majority of participants condemned the man's violence and would arrest him, a sizeable proportion of participants did not view the woman's self-defence as acceptable and would not rule out arresting her.

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